“This Court Is Being Plagued By Frivolous PILs Which Are Consuming Considerable And Precious Time”: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has said that it is being plagued by frivolous PILs which are consuming considerable and precious time of the Court while cautioning against PILs promoting personal, business, or political agenda.
The Court further said that it will be a travesty of justice for the resources of the legal system to be consumed by misdirected petitions purportedly filed in the public interest which upon due scrutiny are found to promote a personal, business, or political agenda.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed, “This Court is being plagued by frivolous PILs which are consuming considerable and precious time of this Court and instead of concentrating on issues which are of vital importance this Court has to spend valuable time in deciding such frivolous petitions. Public Interest Litigation was conceptualised as a weapon to secure justice for the voiceless. The Apex Court said that Public Interest Litigation has to be used with great care and circumspection and the judiciary has to be extremely careful to see that behind the beautiful veil of public interest an ugly private malice, vested interest and/or publicity-seeking is not lurking.”
The Bench also observed that the attractive brand name of Public Interest Litigation should not be used for suspicious products of mischief and should be aimed at genuine public wrong or public.
“Courts must be careful to see that a member of public who approaches the Court is acting bona fide and not for personal gain or private motive or political motivation or other oblique consideration”, noted the Court.
Advocate Shahid Ali appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Standing Counsel Tushar Sannu and ASC Anuj Aggarwal appeared on behalf of the respondents.
In this case, a writ petition was filed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking a writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ/order/direction to restrain the respondent from carrying out further construction at Gandhi Nagar, Delhi. The petitioner was a social worker who was actively engaged in helping various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel asserted, “The present writ petition though styled as a PIL is, in fact, the second petition filed by the Petitioner complaining about the unauthorized construction over the subject property. … A perusal of the counter affidavit discloses that the construction is as per the permission granted by the MCD and that the MCD is keeping a vigil on the construction. Despite this assurance, the Petitioner, reasons not known to this Court, wants to persist with this matter.”
The Court noted that there is no reason for it to doubt the stand taken by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The Court further noted that the petitioner instead of accepting the statement made on an affidavit has tried to question the bonafides of the MCD without there being any basis that leads the Court to suspect the bonafides of the petitioner.
“It will be travesty of justice for the resources of the legal system to be consumed by misdirected petitions purportedly filed in the public interest which upon due scrutiny are found to promote a personal, business or political agenda. In fact, Public Interest Litigations which have been filed with oblique motive seriously denude the efficacy of the judicial system by detracting from the ability of the Court to devote its time and resources to cases which legitimately require attention”, held the Court.
The Court observed that the Petitioner for reasons best known to her chose to disbelieve the MCD without any valid reason.
“This Court is satisfied with the affidavits filed by the MCD. Even though this PIL is not in public interest, but this Court is desisting from imposing costs on the Petitioner, who is a lady”, said the Court.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the PIL.
Cause Title- Anita Sharma v. East Municipal Corporation and Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:2070-DB)